Vacation Day Two: 3:15 AM Coast Starlight Train

Day Two; We returned the Whale and got a room at the Redding Travel Lodge so we could get a few hours sleep (not bad for a budget motel, clean, good service, fine place if you are just staying for a night or two).  We got up at 1:30am, taxi at 2:15am, Amtrak Train scheduled to leave at 3:15am (actual train arrival time after delays, 4am).  The train station at Redding is unmanned, but at least there was indoor seating on wooden benches (as you can see from the photos) and a bathroom!  Quite the adventure with a 4 yr old, but Logan was a trooper!  The hotel gave us sack breakfasts at check-in when they heard how early we had to leave, with apple sauce, granola bars, juice, and yogurt, a nice touch.  It really helped keep Logan from melting down, he had never been up that early morning in the morning before.

Vacation: Day one - Dinner

We stopped for a great dinner at La Grange in the old town section of Weaverville. Susan had buffalo meatloaf, Logan of course had chicken strips, and I had clams. The goat cheese starter and peach cobbler dessert was fantastic.

Vacation: The start of day one - The Whale

Vacation: The start of day one - The Whale

The first leg of our vacation calls for a one way rental car from home to Redding, where we will pick up the Amtrak train. I called the car rental place the afternoon before I was supposed to pick up the car, and was informed that they

...did not have my car, or for that matter any rentals cars at all on the lot. They were waiting for a half dozen to be returned. I was not sure to get the type car I ordered, but they would find me something...

Deep breath. Ok. Please don't let it be a SUV that sucks gas like a, well, nevermind, just not a SUV, ok?

I called again the next morning, and guess what they had for me, that's right, you guessed it, a SUV. A monster SUV. Specifically, a Lincoln Navigator. Super luxury to be sure, but... I started to make unhappy sounds and the very nice woman (Jessica I think) at the Eureka Hertz location offered to knock $50 off the already AAA discounted rate for my original car choice. So I ended up with a deluxe SUV at intermediate prices, and they paid for all the gas (I ended up using $48 worth of gas from start to end). I have dubbed the car, "The Whale." It was actually quite a nice car, GPS, Sirus, Bluetooth, electric everything, rear camera, I kept finding new things every time I would flip a switch or open a panel.

Here is a pic of the whale:

(formatting edited 6/6/10)

Books we read to our Preschooler

Our family is having fun reading chapter books aloud with our 3 yr old, Jay.  They are actually reading to themself and will take turns reading entire pages to us too!  I am going to try and maintain a list of all the books that we have read together.  Each of these books has been a great read that we all enjoyed. 

I am actively soliciting other parents to make comments regarding "chapter" books that they have read to their children.  We are always looking for new books, and hope that our list will give you some ideas too.
Books we have finished:
"No Fighting, No Biting!", by Else Holmelund Minarik
"The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales", by Jon Scieszka
"The Phantom Tollbooth," by Norton Juster
"From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler", by E. L. Konigsburg
"The Reluctant Dragon", by Kenneth Grahame
"Ralph S. Mouse", by Beverly Cleary
"Stuart Little", by E.B. White
"Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus", by Barbara Park
"Wizard of Oz", by L. Frank Baum*
"Alice in Wonderland", by Lewis Carroll*
"The Hobbit", by J.R.R. Tolkien
"Have Spacesuit - Will Travel", by Robert A. Heinlein
Books suggestions by others for the next read:
"James and the Giant Peach", by Roald Dahl (suggested by @ryzun on Twitter)

 ("Have Spacesuit - Will Travel", by Robert A. Heinlein was suggested by @lauria, and we have indeed  finished reading it)

"Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", by Douglas Adams (suggested by @lauria, see comments, added 3/15,10)

*free Project Gutenberg** download, I use the epub format, loaded into free Stanza reader app for the iPhone, Logan LOVES flipping the pages on the iPhone!   
**Project Gutenberg is an archive of public domain books, you can download over 30,000 free ebooks to read on your PC, iPhone, Kindle, Sony Reader or other portable device. They have several indexes of childrens books.

updated 6/15/10